FIVE players shared the lead after the opening day of The Mortgage Group Classic at The Bristol GC.
And five seemed to be the magic number as the quintet hit a five-under-par 65 in cloudy and windy conditions.
Mark Smith (Erewash Valley) was the opening pacesetter with a round which included seven birdies and two bogeys whilst Michiel Bothma played his best round for several weeks with five birdies and no bogeys in a clean round.
Bothma’s fellow South African Shaun Norris managed five birdies and one eagle but two bogeys prevented him taking an outright lead.
Matchroom Golf managed Richard Finch cancelled out a double bogey with an eagle and also carded five birdies in a roller-coaster round.
Finally St Mellion golfer Ben Welch recovered from a scrappy front nine to hit four birdies, one eagle and one bogey as he joined the other four at the top of the leaderboard.
In the chasing group, James Godbold (Renotex) is a single shot adrift along with in-form Irishman Ciaran McMonagle, Thomas Peacock and Sam Pigott (West Malling).
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Gosfield Lake-based amateur Justin Brown despite a hole in one at the sixth. Normally the feat would allow him an entry in to the Tour Championship shoot-out for a Peugeot car, but because of his amateur status he will not be eligible to compete for the prize!